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10 Study Hacks for Getting Better Grades

10 Study Hacks for Getting Better Grades

You know as well as anyone else that not every method for studying works the same for everyone. However, there are a number of tips to use in order to study better and get better grades. Ideally, you will use these hacks for studying through the whole year, and not just when exams come around. Try not to overload yourself with trying them all at once though. That said, some can be used hand-in-hand.

1. Utilize Caffeine

Caffeine aids in kicking the brain into gear for studying. It is most beneficial when used in small breaks throughout studying, rather than in one huge dose prior to studying. This will ensure that your brain gets continual kick starts, as opposed to one huge jolt followed by a dramatic crash.

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2. Talk to your Teachers

These are the people that make all of your tests, so take the time to talk with them. You will be able to gain insight into how they are thinking, allowing you to study in a way that will benefit you when taking tests. It won’t hurt to ask your teachers what they will be looking for on the test and find out exactly what you will need to study.

3. Use Mnemonic Strategies

Making up your own allow you to remember sequences and key concepts with ease. This does take a bit of time, but creating your own mnemonic devices is the difference between active learning and passive learning. This strategy has proven to improve an individual’s ability to remember. If you don’t want to make up your own, search the internet for some that relate to the subject that you are studying.

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4. Chew Gum When Studying

Studies have shown that when you chew gum, your focus and concentration are boosted. Don’t stop there! You can also chew gum while you are taking a test or exam. This forms a connection in the brain that will help you remember what you studied while you were chewing gum. This kind of study hack is called context dependency.

5. Block Out Distractions

Aim to avoid extraneous activities on your computer, tablet, or phone while studying. Try to turn them off and place them in another room. If you don’t have enough self-restraint, there are free apps that will restrict your access to specified websites for a predetermined amount of time.

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6. Tackle it in Small Portions

When there is a large portion of information that needs to be learned, break it down into smaller, more manageable portions. Don’t do it all at once. Rather, you should aim to learn a different portion each day. Furthermore, do not start a new portion until you have the current one down.

7. Try Studying in a New Space

Aim to switch up where you study every day. When you change studying spaces, it will force your brain to form new memories each time, making it more likely that you will retain the new material.

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8. Read Your Notes Out Loud

Read them out loud to yourself, with a friend, or even to your cat. When you speak and hear the words, it will help to reinforce the material in a new way. When you find a partner, this study hack will benefit both of you.

9. Read Before the Lecture

This is the best way to get the most out of your classes. It will reinforce the material—twice. It will also help you answer questions that your teacher poses to the class.

10. Study with the Right Music

Unfamiliar music or ambient noise has the potential to boost productivity. Remember though, that familiar music has the potential to have the opposite effect. There are plenty of ways to find the right type of noise. Finding an internet radio station with instrumental music or video game soundtracks will do the trick.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on November 18, 2019

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

Everyone of my team members has a bucketload of tasks that they need to deal with every working day. On top of that, most of their tasks are either creativity tasks or problem solving tasks.

Despite having loads of tasks to handle, our team is able to stay creative and work towards our goals consistently.

How do we manage that?

I’m going to reveal to you how I helped my team get more things done in less time through the power of correct prioritization. A few minutes spent reading this article could literally save you thousands of hours over the long term. So, let’s get started with my method on how to prioritize:

The Scales Method – a productivity method I created several years ago.

How to Prioritize with the Scales Method

    One of our new editors came to me the other day and told me how she was struggling to keep up with the many tasks she needed to handle and the deadlines she constantly needed to stick to.

    At the end of each day, she felt like she had done a lot of things but often failed to come up with creative ideas and to get articles successfully published. From what she told me, it was obvious that she felt overwhelmed and was growing increasingly frustrated about failing to achieve her targets despite putting in extra hours most days.

    After she listened to my advice – and I introduced her to the Scales Method – she immediately experienced a dramatic rise in productivity, which looked like this:

    • She could produce three times more creative ideas for blog articles
    • She could publish all her articles on time
    • And she could finish all her work on time every day (no more overtime!)

    Curious to find out how she did it? Read on for the step-by-step guide:

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    1. Set Aside 10 Minutes for Planning

    When it comes to tackling productivity issues, it makes sense to plan before taking action. However, don’t become so involved in planning that you become trapped in it and never move beyond first base.

    My recommendation is to give yourself a specific time period for planning – but keep it short. Ideally, 10 or 15 minutes. This should be adequate to think about your plan.

    Use this time to:

    • Look at the big picture.
    • Think about the current goal and target that you need/want to achieve.
    • Lay out all the tasks you need to do.

    2. Align Your Tasks with Your Goal

    This is the core component that makes the Scales Method effective.

    It works like this:

    Take a look at all the tasks you’re doing, and review the importance of each of them. Specifically, measure a task’s importance by its cost and benefit.

    By cost, I am referring to the effort needed per task (including time, money and other resources). The benefit is how closely the task can contribute to your goal.

      To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below four combinations that will enable you to quickly and easily determine the priority of each of your tasks:

      Low Cost + High Benefit

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      Do these tasks first because they’re the simple ones to complete, yet help you get closer to your goal.

      Approving artwork created for a sales brochure would likely fit this category. You could easily decide on whether you liked the artwork/layout, but your decision to approve would trigger the production of the leaflet and the subsequent sales benefits of sending it out to potential customers.

      High Cost + High Benefit

      Break the high cost task down into smaller ones. In other words, break the big task into mini ones that take less than an hour to complete. And then re-evaluate these small tasks and set their correct priority level.

      Imagine if you were asked to write a product launch plan for a new diary-free protein powder supplement. Instead of trying to write the plan in one sitting – aim to write the different sections at different times (e.g., spend 30 minutes writing the introduction, one hour writing the body text, and 30 minutes writing the conclusion).

      Low Cost + Low Benefit

      This combination should be your lowest priority. Either give yourself 10-15 minutes to handle this task, or put these kind of tasks in between valuable tasks as a useful break.

      These are probably necessary tasks (e.g., routine tasks like checking emails) but they don’t contribute much towards reaching your desired goal. Keep them way down your priority list.

      High Cost + Low Benefit

      Review if these tasks are really necessary. Think of ways to reduce the cost if you decide that the completion of the task is required.

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      For instance, can any tools or systems help to speed up doing the task? In this category, you’re likely to find things like checking and updating sales contacts spreadsheets. This can be a fiddly and time-consuming thing to do without making mistakes. However, there are plenty of apps out there they can make this process instant and seamless.

      Now, coming back to the editor who I referred to earlier, let’s take a look at her typical daily task list:

        After listening to my advice, she broke down the High cost+ High benefit task into smaller ones. Her tasks then looked like this (in order of priority):

          And for the task about promoting articles to different platforms, after reviewing its benefits, we decided to focus on the most effective platform only – thereby significantly lowering the associated time cost.

          Bonus Tip: Tackling Tasks with Deadlines

          Once you’ve evaluated your tasks, you’ll know the importance of each of them. This will immediately give you a crystal-clear picture on which tasks would help you to achieve more (in terms of achieving your goals). Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to decide every task’s priority because there’ll be deadlines set by external parties such as managers and agencies.

          What to do in these cases?

          Well, I suggest that after considering the importance and values of your current tasks, align the list with the deadlines and adjust the priorities accordingly.

          For example, let’s dip into the editor’s world again.

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          Some of the articles she edited needed to be published by specific dates. The Scales Method allows for this, and in this case, her amended task list would look something like this:

            Hopefully, you can now see how easy it is to evaluate the importance of tasks and how to order them in lists of priority.

            The Scales Method Is Different from Anything Else You’ve Tried

            By adopting the Scales Method, you’ll begin to correctly prioritize your work, and most importantly – boost your productivity by up to 10 times!

            And unlike other methods that don’t really explain how to decide the importance of a task, my method will help you break down each of your tasks into two parts: cost and benefits. My method will also help you to take follow-up action based on different cost and benefits combinations.

            Start right now by spending 10 minutes to evaluate your common daily tasks and how they align with your goal(s). Once you have this information, it’ll be super-easy to put your tasks into a priority list. All that remains, is that you kick off your next working day by following your new list.

            Trust me, once you begin using the Scales Method – you’ll never want to go back to your old ways of working.

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            Featured photo credit: Vector Stock via vectorstock.com

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